The Vintage Caravan – Ruby Lounge, Manchester: 27th October 2015

The Vintage Caravan were founded in Iceland in 2006 by singer Óskar Logi and former drummer Guðjón Reynisson, who were only 12 years old at the time. In 2012 they were joined by Alexander Örn on bass and released their second studio album Voyage in their home country, before it was released in Europe in 2014. I reviewed the album back then but it’s no longer available. Luckily I kept a paper copy (like you do), and at the time I pulled out comparisons with Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, The Doors, Black Sabbath and Soundgarden to name but a few. My colleague Dave Bradbery reviewed their third studio album Arrival (here) comparing them to bands like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. They cite their main influences as being from their parents record collections so it would seem that their parents had great taste in music! I haven’t been able to make it to any of their previous UK shows, so was looking forward to seeing them at The Ruby Lounge, a small basement venue right in the heart of Manchester, opposite the Arndale Market. This was to be the last night of their UK headline tour before they headed over to Europe to tour with Europe. I had a quick chat with Alexander and Stefan before the show (here) and bearing in mind I’m nearly six foot tall in heels they made me feel tiny! I mention this for a reason which I’ll come to.

Whilst waiting for them to come on stage there was some psychedelic lighting in the form of swirling red splodges and a bit of psychedelia suits their music. Aptly they opened the show with the pscychedelic Craving, the first track on their album Voyage, and Oskar announcing ‘Hello we’re Vintage Caravan from Iceland’. The stage in The Ruby Lounge is a reasonable size but the ceiling is quite low, and it seemed even lower than usual with Alexander and Oskar bounding around. The performance was energetic from the off, I struggled to get many photos when there wasn’t hair flying around! Alexander was like Cousin Itt on speed!

After the opener Oskar said ‘Thank you. I think we’re going to have a fucking great time tonight Manchester. Another one off Voyage, Midnight Meditation‘ another fast, catchy song. Then came a couple of songs from Arrival, which I haven’t heard so they were new to me. Babylon was mellow in places, hard and fast in others and I picked up a bit of a Spencer Davis Group Gimme Some Lovin beat. Eclipsed a softer one to start which got a bit heavier and had a Sabbathesque vibe. Let Me Be with a catchy refrain and some bullet drumming had the audience really going for it, although I need to qualify that by adding, in the same way that an audience would go for it at a Hawkwind gig rather than at a punk gig. Alexander was up at the front stood on the amps playing his bass energetically.

We then got some introductions to the band ‘This is Alexander on bass. Stefan on drums. My name is Oskar. We’re going to do Cocaine Sally‘ another one from Voyage with a Jimi Hendrix feel I’m thinking something like a funkier Stone Free. Oskar asked if anyone came to the gig when they supported Blues Pills  and a lot of whoops indicated that members of the audience had been there! Stefan was then trying to say something but his microphone kept moving until Alexander stepped in and anchored it. Then came Shaken Beliefs another one from Arrival, and the best way I can desribe this one is like a strange mongrel offspring of The Stranglers’ No More Heroes and The Prodigy’s Breathe.

Oskar said this would be their last gig in the UK this tour before they head over to tour with Europe, in Europe, and that they were going to slow things down with Winterland which starts of mellower but becomes more aggressive as the song progresses before ending back on a mellower note. Oskar said they would be at the merch desk after the show selling vinyl and t-shirts and crap and the next song Last Day of Light was likely to be the last one. A good one to end the show on a high note with it’s strong rhythm and powerful riffs, which saw Alexander head banging and not only Oskar’s hair flying but his hand flying back and forth over the fret. Oskar then said ‘Thank you so much’ and took a photo of the crowd, which having looked on Facebook they seem to do at every gig. I dashed over from my spot over on the left hand side facing the stage but alas it looks like I wasn’t quick enough to make it onto the picture!

This turned out not to be the last song after all as Oskar asked ‘Shall we do one more? Up to You’ Of course we wanted more and Expand Your Mind started with a drum solo and includes the lyrics ‘Take a trip with me’ and ‘Sail away’ and the song is about taking your mind on a trip rather than your body! Many of the audience were dancing or nodding their heads along to the beat. Stefan had a beaming grin and although I wasn’t able to see Alexander’s facial expression for hair, I suspect he was smiling too. Oskar roared  ‘Let’s go fucking crazy!’ then ran out into audience to play a few riffs before dashing back fo finish the song and the show with a ‘Thank you! See you at the merch stand and then lets’ get some beer’ which sounded like a good plan!

The Vintage Caravan are barely into their twenties but have a really mature and polished sound. All three gave the perfomance their all, it was obvious they love performing and are passionate about what they do. The Vintage Caravan should appeal to fans of Dad Rock think Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple but with an energetic performance which should appeal to a younger audience too. Definitely worth seeing if you get chance!

 

Vintage Caravan Set List

Band Members:

Óskar Logi – Guitar and vocals
Alexander Örn – Bass and backup vocals
Stefán Ari – Drums

Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vintagecaravan

Website: http://www.thevintagecaravan.eu

Twitter: https://twitter.com/_vintagecaravan

About Louise Swift

I first went to a gig in 1981, Gillan at Leeds University. I've been a regular gig goer ever since. I haven't kept count of how many gigs I've been to over the intervening years, but it's a lot! My favourite bands are AC/DC then, in no particular order, Anti-Nowhere League, Slaughter and the Dogs, Towers of London and Dirt Box Disco. I tend to like Glam/Punk and rude offensive lyrics, not sure what that says about me but as Animal would say 'So What!' The question was recently put to me - did I write for any online publications? My reply - No, but I'd like to! Planetmosh was suggested and I found myself offering to review Aces High Festival. Easy peasy I thought! Well not quite, if a jobs worth doing it's worth doing well! I had sixteen bands to research. I found I actually enjoyed that and it kept me too busy to be making lunatic comments on Facebook! ;) Then I felt a bit inadequately qualified. I mean, who am I to comment on others, when my musical expertise extends to being able to play a mean Greensleeves on the recorder and a passable Annie's song on the flute! Haven't picked up either instrument for years! What I do have, however, is over 30 years of experience as a gig goer, so I can comment on what I like and what I don't! It's only my opinion and, if I don't like a band it doesn't mean they are bad, just not to my own liking. I admire anyone who has the guts to get up on that stage and have a go!
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